POST TIME: 18 October, 2019 12:17:57 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 October, 2019 05:27:09 PM
BSF man killed in exchange of fire with BGB

BSF man killed in exchange of fire with BGB

A member of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) was reportedly killed and another injured as Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) men fired in self defence after coming under fire from BSF at Shahariaghat Balughat area (also known as Kakmarichar) under Charghat upazila in Rajshahi district yesterday morning. over the detention of an Indian fisherman for illegal fishing in Bangladesh waters.

In a press release, the BGB said the BSF members intruded into Bangladesh territory and tried to snatch an Indian fisherman detained for illegally fishing in the Padma River that runs along the border of both the countries. Indian media identified the deceased BSF member as BSF 117 Battalion Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh, who got shot in the head, and the injured as Constable Rajvir Yadav, who has sustained bullet injury on his arm.

After the incident, a flag meeting was held at the border to calm the situation, said the BGB. Talking to The Independent, public relation officer of BGB Shariful said an inquiry committee would be formed to investigate the exchange of gunfire between the two friendly neighbouring border forces.

“The incident took place 650 yards inside Bangladesh and the BSF members first opened fire while fleeing from Bangladesh territory towards India in the morning,” the BGB release said.

The press release signed by BGB headquarters Public Relations Officer Md Shariful Islam said three Indian fishermen were seen fishing in the Padma River in an engine-run boat 350 yards inside Bangladesh from the zero line under BGB Rajshahi Battalion Charghat Border Outpost (BOP) around 10:40am.

A patrol team of BOP along with Charghat Upazila Fisheries Department's Field Assistant Abu Raihan and two other assistants went to the spot as part of mother hilsa protection campaign. They detained one of the fishermen along with illegal current net while two others fled.

Later, four BSF members from Kagmari BOP under BSF 117 Battalion entered 650 yards inside Bangladesh territory through Shahariaghat Balughat in a speedboat. One of them was in uniform while three others were wearing half-pants and under-vests. They were also carrying firearms, the release said. As the BSF men tried to forcibly take away the detained Indian fisherman, they were informed by the BGB that he (fisherman) would be returned through a flag meeting. Besides, the BGB patrol team also informed the BSF members that they (BSF men) would also be returned through the flag meeting as they trespassed into the Bangladesh territory, the press release said.

Hearing this, the BSF members panicked and tried to flee along with the fisherman but the BGB men obstructed them. At this stage, BSF members opened fire and started moving their speedboat towards the Indian territory while the BGB patrol team fired back in self-defence, said BGB.

Later, a flag meeting was held between the Commanding Officer of Rajshahi Battalion and the Commandant of BSF 117 Battalion over the incident. The flag meeting revealed that one BSF member was killed and another injured in the incident. At the meeting, both sides agreed to investigate the incident from their respective positions and take action accordingly. They also agreed to hold the flag meeting again for further discussions on this issue.

According to Indian media reports, the "apparent high handedness" of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops has led to tension between the two sides with BSF chief V K Johri calling up his counterpart Major General Shafeenul Islam over a hotline. The BGB DG has assured the BSF chief of forming a probe body to investigate the incident, they added.

The relations between the two forces have been very cordial and no bullet has been fired between them for decades. This incident is an aberration and efforts are being made to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate, official sources told Indian media.

The 3-km wide Padma River has Bangladesh and India on two sides and is shared by both. The river holds a plentiful supply of hilsa fish, a delicacy in both the countries.

Bangladesh government has imposed a 22-day ban on hilsa fishing from October 9 in a 7,000km breeding ground including the Padma River, to ensure safe spawning of the fish during its peak breeding period.